Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cold with poor visibility

Testing for weak layers on a SE aspect...
Multiple weaknesses were found mainly due to the large quantities of graupel within the snowpack.
Whilst wandering around on the same slope the sub-surface layers cracked into large blocks.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lots of Corrie action

It's been a good day to be out and about in the hills for skiing, climbing or practicing your winter skills. The winds were much lighter than expected and visibility improved. There were many ascents of all grades on the buttresses and in gullies today... Conditions are great!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another day at the office

Temperatures were extremely cold in the Cairngorms today....Minus 9 on the summit with a strong Northerly wind. The new windslab accumulations contain a large percentage of grauple leading to snowpack weaknesses. Grauple starts its life as a snow crystal and whilst in the atmosphere depending on humidity levels riming develops covering the crystal which can eventually form a ball bearing like shape.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thawing and Damp

A thaw has helped with the consolidation of the snowpack the forecast refreeze should really improve the climbing conditions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Good conditions with biting cold winds

Looking toward the Fiacaill Buttress in Coirean t Sneachda
Blocks forming underfoot - a good indicator of a weakness in the snowpack

Conditions are generally very good but with much digging on cliffs to find belays etc, good walking and good snowcover. Some unstable windslab forming on E to S to W aspect blocks release underfoot as shown on photo on a E aspect at 1000 m.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Many routes climbed today

Conditions have been great for skiing and climbing and the visibility improved dramatically once it stopped snowing around midday. Many climbers were making the most of the good conditions especially in the Northern Corries (note all the black dots!) .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Calm dry day

Conditions in Coire Laogh Mor today: Wind scoured up to the base of the Coire... yesterday's windslab accumulations lie on NW to NE aspects.
The herd enjoy calmer weather.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Windy with Heavy drifting

At snowprofile site at 600 metres - heavy drifting on N aspects

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Windy with heavy drifting

It has been a day of very strong gales and blizzards above 500 metres -
see pic illustrating conditions today at 600m Andy Nisbett (Who else) and friend enjoying the weather.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mild with firm snow

Coire an T Sneachda

The snowpack is pretty icy and firm - so easy walking - good snow in gullies - a great improvement.!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Everyone's is digging

The weather has calmed down enough to allow the Cairngorm mountain staff to finally start excavating the funicular railway line. Not an easy job as the snowpack has a hard crust after yesterday's thaw freeze cycle. Well done to the diggers!!
Climbing conditions have improved in the Corries and a few routes were being done today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A stormy day

Very strong winds eased as the day progressed with clearer skys. Creag an Leth-choin (Lurchers crag)

Conditions this morning with views looking out towards Stac na h-lolaire.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Strong winds and rising temperatures

It's been a wild weather day, with very strong South winds and drifting snow from around 500 metres. Even the reindeer herd found it tough hence taking shelter in the Ciste car park beneath the huge piles of ploughed snow.
Skiing out of the bottom of Ciste Gully with a strong South wind for extra speed.

Due to rising temperatures cracks appeared at 570m on a NW facing slope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A lull before the storm

Heading up to the Chais car parkCairngorm mountain staff working very hard as they use JCB diggers to carve their way through the 3 metre drifts on the link roads.

Firm windslab creating excellent off piste skiing at lower altitudes

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Windy - Heavy Drifting

Substantial drifting on a South-Easterly wind has been taking place, for 3 days now.
The above clip is at about 850m alt on a NW aspect.
Very poor visibility - High avalanche hazard - good route choice required.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avalanche day

Six separate avalanches were noted today on Westerly and North-West aspects. One was triggered on the Chais Headwall. There has been a lot of drifting and new windslab is overlying the soft snow from yesterday. This is making the snowpack very unstable and the picture below demonstrates the windslab failing on isolation on the soft snow beneath. Drifting on across the Chais ridge on a strong Easterly wind.
Recent avalanche debris below Jacobs Ladder...not triggered by the skier who has just made a descent of the gully. A calculated risk???

Saturday, January 09, 2010

12cm of new snow

Heading into Coire an t-Sneachda which was deserted.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cold and Sunny

Coire an t-SneachdaEtchachan and Shelter Stone
Loch Avon looking East

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Poor viz with Clear spells

Hells Lum
Snow depth at plateau level
Descending into the Coire Raibert

The snowpack is very variable with some very poorly bonded snow on southerly aspects when it starts to steepen. on other aspects cracks appeaered in the surface layers underfoot.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cold, calm but no visibility

Cairngorm summit weather station is entombed in ice
Today's pit was at windy col facing West. Visibility was very poor making it slow going on the ski's but the snowcover is superb on the plateau.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Snow cleared during the afternoon

The new windslab sheared easily on this soft layer below.
Deep accumulations of windslab and cornices seen in the distance on this Westerly aspect.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

It's still snowing in the Cairngorms, there is an incredible amount of snow here at Glenmore Lodge and its difficult for the snow plough man to find enough room to put it all! We think this giant marshmallow shaped mound could be a car.
Mean while in the mountains conditions are very unstable so careful route choice is needed, and the snow is very soft and deep so without snow shoes or ski's travel is very arduous.